What can be done about high rates of HIV infection among Black gay and bi men

The first of a two-part series by writer and commentator Rod McCullom examining what can be done to reverse the high rates of new HIV infection among Black gay and bisexual men…

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The number of new HIV cases in the United States has remained fairly stable at about 50,000 per year between 2006 and 2009, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that was published in early August in the online scientific journal PLoS ONE.

Predictably, the epidemic continues to affect Black America disproportionately: Forty-four percent of all new infections occurred among African Americans, who make up only about 13 percent of the population.  And gay and bisexual men, who make up only an estimated two percent of the population, accounted for 61 percent of all new HIV infections in 2009.  Young Black gay and bi men–“men who have sex with men” (MSM), in public health jargon–ages 13 to 29 experienced the greatest increases, with infection rates skyrocketing by more than 48 percent.

But government researchers described the soaring seroconversions among young Black MSM as “alarming.”  “The data is not surprising because we’ve been talking about young Black gay and bisexual men for some time,” says A. Cornelius Baker, a member of the Presidential Advisory Council HIV/AIDS (PACHA), the senior communications consultant at AED Center on AIDS & Community Health and board chair of the Black AIDS Institute.  “Now we have an opportunity to make some progress with bold and comprehensive strategies.”

Contunue reaeding the article at Balckvoicenews.com.

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Rod McCullom blogs on politics, pop culture and Black gay news at rod20.com. His commentary appears in Ebondy, The Advocate, ColorLines and other popular media.

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